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Merck snaps up eye-drug maker Inspire

Merck & Co. said Tuesday that it would acquire eye treatment maker Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc. for about $430 million to expand its ophthalmology business. Get the full story »

J&J recalling 12 million bottles of Mylanta

Johnson & Johnson is adding 12 million bottles of Mylanta — the stomach discomfort treatment — to its ongoing list of recalled products, due to the presence of alcohol that’s not listed on the label.

J&J said it is recalling more than 12.3 million bottles of Mylanta and more than 84,000 bottles of AlternaGel, which is used for heartburn relief.
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Merck ‘good cholesterol’ drug study wows doctors

Dr. Christopher Cannon, the leader of a study on an experimental Merck cholesterol drug, at the Chicago AHA conference. (AP Photo/AHA)

Merck’s highly potent drug to raise heart-protective HDL cholesterol may give doctors a new sledgehammer against heart attacks and strokes, and be prescribed as often as the leading current statin treatments for heart disease, doctors said on Wednesday.

Thousands of doctors listened raptly earlier at midday as researchers presented findings from a highly anticipated study of Merck’s drug, anacetrapib, at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

They were told that levels of HDL in patients taking the pill jumped 138 percent during the 18-month study, while levels of artery-clogging “bad” LDL cholesterol fell 40 percent. Get the full story »

Merck reports disappointing sales on Vioxx charge

Merck & Co. reported disappointing quarterly sales on Friday and took an almost $1 billion charge related to a previously disclosed U.S. government probe of its recalled Vioxx arthritis drug.

The drugmaker, which completed it $41 billion acquisition of Schering-Plough Corp in November 2009, said third quarter earnings fell 89 percent to $372 million, or 11 cents per share, reflecting charges related to the merger as well as the new $950 million Vioxx legal reserve. The company earned $3.46 billion, or $1.61 per share in the year earlier period. Get the full story »

SEC, Justice probe Merck’s activities abroad

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co.  said Friday  that it has received letters from the federal government seeking information about its activities in foreign countries, in connection with a U.S. anti-foreign bribery law.

Merck disclosed in a regulatory filing it has received letters from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it is cooperating with the requests. Get the full story »

Merck earnings take 52% hit in 2Q

Merck & Co.’s second-quarter earnings dropped 52 percnet on acquisition and other charges as sales of its key drugs weren’t as strong as in recent quarters.

The drug giant also narrowed its 2010 earnings forecast while trimming the top end of its sales view for the year. Get the full story »

Merck closing 8 facilities, 2 in U.S.

Drugmaker Merck & Co. said Thursday it is shutting down eight manufacturing plants and eight research sites around the world, including two domestic locations, in the latest phase in its strategic pruning of operations.

The moves, which include consolidating some offices, are part of ongoing consolidation following Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough Corp. last November.

Jury awards $8M in Fosamax case

A jury in New York on Friday awarded $8 million in damages in a product-liability case over Merck & Co.’s (MRK) osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

The verdict is the first loss for the Whitehouse Station, N.J., drug maker as it faces hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal court over allegations Fosamax can cause a jaw-destroying condition known as osteonecrosis. Get the full story »